The Wisconsin DNR collaborated with AES to identify and assess the condition of hundreds of historic remnant prairies and oak savannas that grace the rolling hills of the “Driftless Area” of southwest Wisconsin.
AES had just completed a similar four-year natural areas inventory project covering the entire State of Illinois (Illinois Natural Area Inventory Update).
The Driftless Area inventory was initiated by gathering a large volume of existing information, and then conducting aerial reconnaissance of the project area to confirm aerial photo interpretations. This aerial survey phase categorized nearly a thousand sites as potential prairie or savanna remnants. Based on photo interpretation, these were prioritized for field verification.
Ecologists field-verified the historic remnants of 100+ prairie, savanna and wetland communities, identifying 400+ native species on nearly 350 landowner sites.
The project required extensive data processing, storage, and transfer. All data and mapping were managed in GIS using ESRI ArcView programming and detailed protocols established during the Illinois Natural Area Inventory.
- Natural Resource Inventory
- Aerial Reconnaissance
- Photo Interpretation
- GIS Data Management + Mapping
- Botanical Investigations
- Ecological Community Assessment
Natural Resource Inventory | Wisconsin Driftless Area Assessment